This is the first year we are taking a real break for summer. I had intended to go year round, especially since we take most Fridays off, but I think we were all ready for a break. I was tired of planning and teaching, they were tired of doing schoolwork.
With all their camps (ice skating, robotics, cooking, crafts, Bible) planned for the summer, plus vacation plans, we don't actually have that many free weeks. Part of me has been enchanted by the idea of nostalgic care-free summers of the past-no camps, no plans, no schoolwork...just sleeping in, staying up late, running around outdoors, learning what to do about boredom, using their creativity and imagination to fill their time, hours of free time, maybe exploring some topic they are passionate about...Of course, we probably will have only about 4 weeks that we can even do that at all! But I did want to give them at least a *little* taste of that 'free summer' (I remember summer feeling like it was SO long when we were little!) without schedules and assignments.
Of course, in this day and age, I had to qualify the "free time": It's "free time", but NOT hours and hours on electronics, which I'm sure they would choose if they were completely free to choose. I'm sure we played Atari for a good amount of the summers when we were young, but my fondest memories are roller skating into the late dusk hours, lying on the grass and watching clouds go by, wandering around the field and woods around our house with our neighbor. Sadly, I feel like this kind of summer is unattainable now. First, ticks/Lyme disease is a serious risk in grassy areas. Second, wandering around unattended in our neighborhood just doesn't feel safe anymore (and I'm sure that topic can be debated, but with the speed at which cars drive on our street, the risk of being accused for 'neglect', "stranger danger", and the lack of friendships with the neighborhood kids, I just can't feel comfortable letting them roam around unattended like we used to.) Third, even if we did have neighborhood kids around to play with, kids these days just want to play on electronics, whether phones, iPads, gaming consoles, etc. so I purposely DON'T want them to just go over to someone's house and end up playing on screens.
But I hope in the days that they are home, they will still be able to spend hours climbing trees, shooting their bows and arrows, playing Legos, building couch cushion forts, reading, and doing all the things that make summer memorable.